Research Topic

Service Centers


Criteria to Establish an Internal Service Center

Departments and researchers use a variety of products and/or services to perform their activities or projects. Sometimes these products or services are not readily available from external sources, or cannot be obtained conveniently and efficiently. Therefore, the institution may need to establish service centers to provide these products and services. When these products or services are provided within the U of I System these units function as non-profit businesses, also called service centers.


  • machine shops
  • microscopy facilities
  • visualization laboratory
  • carpool
  • chemical analysis lab
  • sediment analysis lab
  • research resource lab
  • animal research lab
  • toxicology research lab

Banner fund type 3E Service Centers are established to:

  • Provide a good/service (or) groups of goods/services on a recurring basis.
  • Provide goods/services primarily to internal customers within the University of Illinois System.
  • Recover the costs of providing the good/service through charges or fees to users.
  • Add value such as assigned staff and supplies necessary to provide the good/service.

Internal vs External Users

Internal users of service centers are those users whose ultimate source of funds is within the University of Illinois System, or whose funds flow through the U of I System (i.e., sponsored programs). These include academic, research, administrative and auxiliary areas which purchase services to support their work at the system. Federal grants and contracts administered by the universities are considered internal customers.

External users are organizations or individuals whose ultimate source of funds is outside of the U of I System. External users include students and any members of faculty or staff acting in a personal capacity, and the general public. Affiliated hospitals or other universities are considered external users unless the System has subcontracted with them as part of a grant or contract or the System has entered into a formal written agreement (i.e. testing agreements, facilities use agreements, etc.). Although service activities are established principally to serve the internal users, services are occasionally requested by external entities.

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